#1
Hey guys, what's up? So I am self teaching to play guitar. I have an Ibanez RG321MH. Some people feel acoustic is great to move your fretting hand along to learn, but maybe it doesn't matter much.

This thread is aimed more towards people who are "Self Taught".

I am a bit lost on exactly where to start learning. I was going to practice different chords and get those down in terms of sounding clean and learning how to place my hand on the frets. Then I was going to move to scales.

I have trouble understanding how to read the chord diagrams even though I know how its read. Just when I look at them, I get confused.

Also, I have trouble sometimes sounding clean. It seems that certain fingers dim out or mute the string below no matter how much I keep my joints bent. I can manage at times, but its almost like I have to put extra attention to it. I always wonder how professionals in bands make it look so easy. It almost looks like they barley touch the frets and they play amazing. My fingers are weak, especially with certain notes. Any tips how to strengthen that so I can hold the frets down better?

I am trying to be patient as I am eager to learn how to play actual songs, but I know I can't just do that. I have no clue on what I should be practicing or where to start.

I am looking for advice and tips from personal experience. I know there are tons of articles on the site, but thats only the authors advice. I'd rather here a variety of opinions from Self Taught individuals.

Thanks guys.
#2
If you're having trouble with muting the noise on certain notes just keep practicing. I'm also self teaching myself, and for the most part, the first couple days I had those problems too. You'll see that if you play certain chords a lot and actually play songs where you switch between that chord and other chords, you'll notice yourself start to improve. It's all just the basic idea that "practice makes perfect."
#3
Go take a lesson, even if it's just one. There's no glory in being self taught, you're likely going to perpetuate bad habits; personally, I had one lesson when I started and then I played on my own for a couple of years. In retrospect, learning from another guitarist is the fastest way to progress. I mean, really, why did you come here to ask for the help of other guys if you didn't think you could learn something?
#5
Quote by Metal2012
I am a bit lost on exactly where to start learning. I was going to practice different chords and get those down in terms of sounding clean and learning how to place my hand on the frets. Then I was going to move to scales.

A lot of people on here like to recommend http://justinguitar.com/ for beginners. He's got some good lessons and I personally wish I'd structured my practice early on like his lessons have. I know apajr has an e-book that he loves to plug (it's free and he's always happy to provide a link). Having never used it myself, I can't say any more than that it exists. Freepower has some phenomenal videos on basic techniques and theory on Youtube that I have used and continue to refer to whenever I have something I'm not entirely certain about.

I have trouble understanding how to read the chord diagrams even though I know how its read. Just when I look at them, I get confused.

There should be some articles out there about how to read chord diagrams. Personally, I never worried about them. I learned the CAGED system (the C, A, G, E, and D open chords, major and minor) and learned to build whatever extensions or suspensions I needed as necessary. If you want to get better at reading them, just practice. It gets easier over time. They aren't absolutely necessary for guitar players, though they can be pretty handy.

Also, I have trouble sometimes sounding clean. It seems that certain fingers dim out or mute the string below no matter how much I keep my joints bent. I can manage at times, but its almost like I have to put extra attention to it. I always wonder how professionals in bands make it look so easy. It almost looks like they barley touch the frets and they play amazing. My fingers are weak, especially with certain notes. Any tips how to strengthen that so I can hold the frets down better?

For the bolded bit, that's just how it is when you start. When I started, I could never pluck the right strings and had to switch back and forth between looking at the fretboard and the strings individually in order to play anything. Now I can play most anything I want blindfolded. It's a matter of getting used to the instrument and making good fretting technique habitual rather than something you have to think about. It'll come with time.

Personally, I don't think there's any advantage at all that comes with being self-taught, especially early on. If you want to learn and get places quickly, take a couple of lessons and practice your fingertips off. Early on, good instruction is obscenely useful. I wish I'd taken lessons. I'd be a lot better than I am now (and I'm a fair hand with a guitar if I do say so myself).

Hope that helps.
#6
First of all congratulations for deciding to learn how to play guitar.

I recommend that you take my free ebook, you can see the table of contents below.

http://www.guitarlearningtips.org/the-guitar-blueprint-to-success/

And by subscribing to my newsletter you will also receive valuable information copncerning guitar playing.

I have divided my emails so that they help you build your musical grounds and learn how music goes. All you have to do is just practice.

Besides this i have my website organized in 3 categories: ear training, music theory and guitar technique.

I recommend you take a look and see what works for you. Feel free to tell me if you want any adittional information.
#7
I'm pretty much completely self-taught (this definition is never accurate btw, given the amount of resources available online) and I've progressed quite well - the key though is that you've obviously got to be motivated. I've always learned well on my own and I was driven to learn guitar because when I started college I was surrounded by people who played well, so I had the necessary drive to do it.

It really does boil down to laying down solid fundamentals, which can be difficult in the beginning - this is probably the most noticeable area where a teacher will be immensely helpful from the start. I really had to force myself to never play faster than I could, to keep my ability level in perspective, but at the same time continue challenging myself to keep things interesting. I also came in with a solid understanding of theory, which I'd highly recommend studying if you haven't already, as it gave me a nice guide to what I was doing, and helped to point me towards things I wanted to learn and apply.

The best advice I could give you is to figure out what you want to do with the guitar, and work up from the very bottom. When I started out, I'd sit down in my school's practice rooms playing things agonizingly slowly (get a metronome, speaking of this), and that's what I'd recommend from the beginning; build proper habits early on and everything else will come naturally. If you play badly at slower tempos and then just speed up to try and play something, all you'll do is play even worse. Find a few exercises from the technique sticky at the top of this forum and start out with those to promote finger independence and clean technique, get familiar with some basic chord changes, and start learning some simpler music, which brings me to this point:
Quote by Metal2012
I am trying to be patient as I am eager to learn how to play actual songs, but I know I can't just do that. I have no clue on what I should be practicing or where to start.

You can actually learn to play the songs, especially if that'll keep you interested; one of the hardest parts about learning on your own (or with a teacher, really) is keeping yourself engaged in what you're doing. The key is to look for material that isn't too far beyond your skill level - naturally, if you're just starting out, everything is going to be challenging, but you'll be able to judge what's at least within the realm of possibility. Take the song you want to learn, and slow it down to the fastest tempo you can play 100% cleanly - no mistakes, no sloppiness, nothing. Then gradually increase that and check for mistakes; if you're sloppy, go back to a slower tempo until you can work your way up a bit more. Repeat that procedure until you can play the song completely and correctly at full tempo. It'll take a while, but again, once you program good habits into your muscles, the rest falls into place much more easily.
Quote by Metal2012
I have trouble understanding how to read the chord diagrams even though I know how its read. Just when I look at them, I get confused.

Could you elaborate on this?
Quote by Metal2012
Also, I have trouble sometimes sounding clean. It seems that certain fingers dim out or mute the string below no matter how much I keep my joints bent. My fingers are weak, especially with certain notes. Any tips how to strengthen that so I can hold the frets down better?

It'll come with time, and this is one of the main reasons people recommend starting on an acoustic guitar, as it'll toughen your fingers. For now, just keep playing the passages until your fingers grow stronger; barre chords will help as well, and as I mentioned before there are exercises at the top of this forum that will help your fingers to become independently strong. As you play through whatever you're doing, pay careful attention to see whether or not the notes you're playing are coming out clearly, and if they're not, simply put more focus into doing that. After a while, your fingers will become strong enough to play the notes on their own. As with anything it's simply a matter of practice until your hands become familiar enough with the instrument to be comfortable.

So, tl;dr is this - play slowly while still challenging yourself, focus on good habits and clean playing, consistent practice.
#8
i've been teaching myself to for about 10 years now. progress is slow and i spent half of the time correcting things i learned the wrong way. it's fun and statisfying but also very frustrating. whatever you learn do some research first and make sure you are using a good technique. everything else is just a matter of practice.

this is the best advice i can give you, good luck
Quote by psyks
You are filthy.
#10
The only advice I will give is when you are first starting out, really concentrate on the rhythm aspect of guitar. Strumming, chording, triads, and basic theory. Dont get caught up in the whole lead guitar thing.

You will be a much better player if you work on your rhythm!!!
R.I.P. Randy Rhoads
#11
I've been playing for 40 years now.. My Dad showed me the basics... Where to put my hands, a few basic chords, correct posture... that sort of thing... Then.. Self taught from there... I still sometimes have to "Regrab" a chord because, I just missed the perfect spot on the string that lets the string above and below it ring... it's going to happen...

With the Internet today (I still had stone tablets back then) The definition of "Self Taught" has changes since my time. Everything from Video's to e-books covering everything from proper posture to hand position, to tutorials on how to care for and set up your guitar... Just have to weed out the crap...

Practice as much as you can... don't ever get "good" and have fun...
I Play Guitar
Some Like it
Some don't
I don't care
Beats Workin'
OLD GUYS RULE!!!!
#13
Quote by :-D
Still blows my mind that you guys learned okay


I know... it wasn't the stone tablets that made it difficult, it was the gutting a dinosaur to get strings... That was a challenge...
I Play Guitar
Some Like it
Some don't
I don't care
Beats Workin'
OLD GUYS RULE!!!!
#14
Quote by Papabear505
I know... it wasn't the stone tablets that made it difficult, it was the gutting a dinosaur to get strings... That was a challenge...

I think even worse than that would be doing research and having to open up a book
#15
Thanks everyone for the replies and advice. I will go thrugh this again later on my computer as I had checked this on my phone. I will look in to the information given.